According to the Chicago Bears, the team’s desire and plans to build a new stadium in Arlington Heights, a suburb roughly 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, has hit a snag.
Arlington Heights, for better or worse, has been the primary focus of the Bears for years as they look to replace Soldier Field. But on Friday, the team released a statement detailing that Arlington Heights, while still a potential plan, is no longer the “singular focus.”
“The Chicago Bears goal of building the largest single development project in Illinois history led by billions of dollars in private capital investment, and the jobs and economic benefits generated, is at risk in Arlington Heights. The stadium-based project remains broadly popular in Arlington Heights, Chicagoland and the state. However, the property’s original assessment at five times the 2021 tax value, and the recent settlement with Churchill Downs for 2022 being three times higher, fails to reflect the property is not operational and not commercially viable in its current state.”
The statement, which was shared on Twitter by Kevin Powell of WGN Radio, went on to say that “We will continue the ongoing demolition activity and work toward a path forward in Arlington Heights, but it is no longer our singular focus. It is our responsibility to listen to other municipalities in Chicagoland about potential locations that can deliver on this transformational opportunity for our fans, our club and the State of Illinois.”
— Kevin Powell (@kpowell720) June 2, 2023
If the Bears were looking for public sympathy with this statement, then it was a swing and a miss — at least according to NFL fans on Twitter.
— 🅑🅔🅐🅡🅢🅖🅡🅛 (@BearsGrl80) June 2, 2023
Again, this appears to be about creating property tax leverage. They don’t hide it. https://t.co/R4gwzAFIHr
— Jon Styf (@JonStyf) June 2, 2023
Aka we don't want to pay our fair share in property taxes we want someone to cut us a break. https://t.co/KhXdIB8TVe
— Daniel Solesky (@Bears_ASU) June 2, 2023
It’s parallel path szn. Catch the fever 😷 https://t.co/IrQbzfmOmm
— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) June 2, 2023
Thoughts and prayers to the Bears' billionaire owners who are a) trying to leave one of America's great cities b) whining about a tax assessment and c) making money (in terms of franchise appreciation) literally as I type this. https://t.co/lgvk4kftcX
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) June 2, 2023
With the exception of the 2002 season, when they played at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium while Soldier Field was being renovated, the Bears have played at Soldier Field since 1971. The stadium opened in 1924.